ARTICLES

by David Clayton

One of the things which strikes us as we read the Bible is the fact that there are several different names which are used to refer to God, and that even God Himself uses different names in referring to Himself. Why is this so? We say that God has many different names and there are brethren who have gone to great lengths in seeking to discover exactly what is the correct pronunciation of the various names by which God is referred to, and insist that unless we pronounce these names properly, we are not referring to God in the right way.

Some of the names used by God are well known. Yahweh (or Jehovah) comes readily to mind. Most also know that the Hebrew words, Adonai, Elohim and El Shaddai are used to refer to God.

What is the significance of all these names? Many people today, especially in the western world do not give much thought to the significance of names. Parents, in naming their children think more of how pleasing the name sounds than of what the name means. But names, originally, and especially in the Bible were intended to convey a message. Names were carefully chosen to reflect the character which it was expected, or desired that a person would manifest in his life.

Jesus' experience?

In Hebrews 5:8,9 we find a startling passage concerning Jesus. It says,

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; (9) And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; (Heb 5:8-9)

Notice, it says that Jesus “learned obedience,” and that He was “made perfect.” In other words, although Jesus was perfect from the very beginning, born with the divine nature, never committing a sin by thought word or deed in all His life, yet there was still room for His character to be perfected. No one would say that there was a time in the life of Christ when He was not saved. No one would say that there was a point in His experience when He was not ready for the association of His Father and the heavenly angels. His fitness for heaven was never an issue, and yet, He was not perfect in a certain sense. In this sense, He had to be perfected before He could fulfill the mission for which He came to the earth.

by David Clayton

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: (Eph 1:1)

The phrase , in Christ , appears several times in the book of Ephesians. For much of my Christian life, I never paid much attention to this phrase, but as I began to understand righteousness by faith, it took on deep significance.

When people ask me about the life in Christ sometimes I will say, “read the books of Ephesians and Colossians very carefully, and when you read, ask yourself, ‘do I believe what I read here?'” In several instances, people who have done that, have had their lives changed. This happened simply by reading these books and asking themselves, “is this really the truth?”

by David Clayton

Part 1: What is a Curse?

 

The cross plays a central part in the salvation of humanity. A person cannot read through the New Testament without recognizing this. The crucifixion of Jesus was a pre-determined aspect of the plan of salvation, something designed by God and His Son before the ages. The apostles understood the significance of the cross and it was always at the centre of their teaching. Paul wrote,

But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; (1 Cor 1:23)

For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (1 Cor 2:2)

Paul preached Christ, but notice his emphasis, it was not just Christ who was at the center of his message, but Christ at a certain point in His experience – Christ crucified.

Why is Calvary so significant? What really happened there on the cross? This is a question which will require all the years of eternity for us to fully answer it, but in spite of this, even today there is much which we can glean by studying this subject carefully.

by David Clayton

It is a universally accepted fact that knowledge is good. Most of us would conclude that knowledge is good because it enables us to respond to our environment in an appropriate way. It enables us to deal with the circumstances that arise in life. As children we went to school to learn, and the whole purpose of this was to gain knowledge so that when we became adults and went out to face life we were able to relate to our circumstances in an appropriate way.

Critical Knowledge

One of the most necessary kinds of knowledge is a knowledge of our enemy. In fact, in times of war the person that is most hated of all enemies is a spy! An enemy soldier who is captured is usually locked up, but often when a spy is found he is executed. A spy is hated and despised because he has more power to do harm than an open enemy. The worst kind of enemy is the enemy who is in our midst and unknown! That is the enemy that we need to know. Ignorance of this kind of enemy can be very dangerous.

by David Clayton

In the book of Hebrews, Paul says in chapter 12 verse 14,

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: (Heb 12:14)

All Christendom knows that God is righteous, He is holy and He is totally contrary to sin. Even if the Bible had not told us, we know instinctively that in order to see God we have to be righteous, and from the beginning of time the search of humanity has been to find this righteousness which qualifies man for eternal life in fellowship with God.

The first pitiful effort to find it was made by Adam and Eve. When they discovered that sin had made them unfit to appear in God's presence, the Bible says that they sewed fig leaves together, and by putting on garments made of leaves they tried to make themselves fit for companionship with God. Of course as soon as God appeared they knew it was not enough and they ran to hide from His presence.

by David Clayton

Almost every view of the plan of salvation sees the issue as a legal question. In fact, I have never seen an explanation of the reason why Jesus had to die and why sinners are condemned to death, which did not explain it in legal terms. The basic idea is this:

God has sentenced me to die. Why? I have committed sin, I have transgressed the law, therefore, a sentence of death hangs over me. How does God cancel that sentence? How does he clear the record of sin from the books so that He can declare me innocent? The popular concept says that when God sees the blood of Christ, God changes His mind about me and He says, “I forgive.” Because of the death of His Son, God is able to change His mind.

What is forgiveness?

This popular concept views forgiveness as an attitude of mind. If one person does something that hurts another, then the one who is hurt should not harbor ill feeling against the one who hurt him. This is seen as, “forgiveness.” Men have attributed this concept of forgiveness to God, so the idea is, when I do wrong, God's attitude towards me changes, God has hard feelings against me, and God says, “before I can change my mind and I can feel good about you again, I've got to have blood and if its not yours then it's going to be the blood of my Son! When that blood is shed and I see that blood, I will cancel the record of your sin in my mind, and in the books and I will think well of you again.” Maybe this is a crude way of expressing it, but ultimately, this is really how popular theology views the issue of God's forgiveness.

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